• Maggie Wallem Rowe

Need Some Gift Ideas? Five Favorite Reads for Fall

I don’t know about you, but the summer of 2021 was certainly not a sit-on-the-beach-and-read season for me.


But as we’ve landed at home again for a bit and baby Jane's cardiac team continues to be cautiously optimistic at the eight week mark*, I’m digging into some new nonfiction books that I can’t wait to tell you about: Special selections for students of the Bible, creatives and contemplatives, parents and grandparents, daughters, and married couples.


Here are five new titles I’m reading and recommending this fall - please read all the way through for a special giveaway!


Looking for something new for personal or group Bible study?


(1). The Way Home: God’s Invitation to New Beginnings by Tessa Afshar won the 2021 ECPA Christian Book Award in the Bible Study category. This 6-week exploration of the book of Ruth brings her story of courage, calling, and divine provision to life in a fresh way. It even includes recipes based on ingredients available in Ruth’s day, like Boaz’s Date Honey! Best of all, you can supplement your study with optional teaching videos.



Women at my church here in North Carolina are using The Way Home for our weekly study this fall. I’ll share a group photo sometime soon!


Searching for an empathetic resource to help you navigate your relationship with aging parents?


(2). Daughtering: Helping Loved Ones Finish Well is a brand-new work by author, chaplain, and international prayer minister Jan de Chambrier, who deftly uses the term “daughtering” to convey duty and devotion, care and compassion, perseverance and even pain as adult daughters come alongside aging parents.


In Daughtering, Jan shares the stories of more than two dozen women as they accompany their loved ones through devastating physical diagnoses, the heartache of dementia, and the challenges of a pandemic among other situations. (Spoiler Alert: Jan has included a chapter on my relationship with my beloved mom as she lived with us in our home the final 18 months of her life.)


Each story is bookended with Scripture and prayer. To order, visit Jan’s website at https://www.glimpsesofhope.org.


Looking for something different for your child or grandchild?


(3). Our five oldest grandchildren – even those not yet reading individually – love to sit with books for hours, so I’m always on the lookout for faith-based titles that convey God’s love for them and others in a fresh way. Here’s the book both sets of grands are getting for Christmas!



Xochitl (So-Cheel) Dixon’s Different Like Me was a finalist for the 2021 ECPA Christian Book Award, and deservedly so.


This beautifully illustrated hardcover for children eight and under from Our Daily Bread Publishing celebrates differences, uncovers what all God’s children have in common, and helps kids know that God made them as they are for a purpose. Whether in looks, cultural background, physical prowess, or academic excellence, there are no two children exactly alike.


Need a gift for a creative, contemplative friend?


(4). I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Nashville singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken’s new book Send Out Your Light: The Illuminating Power of Scripture and Song, and it’s finally out!



In just 60 seconds, here’s a video message from Sandra about why she wrote to bear witness to the light. Darkness does not have the final word!



If you have read her foreword to my first book, This Life We Share, Sandra writes as beautifully as she sings.

“Moments of pause are so important to help us see the big picture clearly. When life tumbles over us like rushing water, our substantive life, the good stuff of who we really are, rests beneath the changing currents. We are sturdy, like the rocks of the riverbed, weathering the elements in flood and drought.” Sandra McCracken, Foreword to This Life We Share

(5). And finally, a very special book and giveaway for anyone with a SITH (spouse in the house) !


Spouse in the House: Rearranging our Attitudes to Make Room for Each Other by Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby is a frank and funny look at what to do when “together” is too close.


Here’s the situation that Cynthia and Becky address, one common to many of us fortunate to actually have “a spouse in the house": What happens when--due to retirement, working from home, or even running a business together--spouses find that being in the same space all the time is awkward, complex, annoying, or just plain challenging? How can partners co-exist without co-exhausting each other?



I had the privilege of endorsing this humorous, practical, relatable book. Spouse in the House is the gift I want to give every couple trying to maintain a healthy relationship while navigating the uncertain terrain of two people coexisting in the same space. With wit and wisdom, the authors share insights from their own experience as well as practical guidance on finance, communication, and a host of other issues confronting those who bump up against their spouse every loving day.


Friends, the hilarious chapter titles alone are worth the purchase!


“I Never Used to be a Night Owl, but It’s the Only Time I Can Be Alone”


“The Sins Febreze Can’t Quite Cover”


“Money Talks, but It’s Not Telling My Spouse What It’s Telling Me”


“If Your Spouse is a Louse: When Home is Not a Safe Place (a serious discussion on domestic abuse)


If you have a SITH or perhaps adult children whose attitudes could use “rearranging” now that both are working from home, I highly recommend this terrific resource. I’m giving away a copy this week, and the winner will be randomly selected from those who comment below.


And a personal word of special appreciation to my new friends from Berea who recently purchased over six cases of This Life We Share. We are only a dozen shy of our goal of 200 reviews on Amazon! If you have read enough to feel you can recommend it, I’d be deeply grateful if you leave a few words at this link. These are challenging days for Christian publishers, and your reviews help them get the message into more hearts and hands. Thank you!


*Jane enters her ninth week of hospitalization this week at Boston Children’s, and the treatment continues to be promising. Thank you for your continued prayers – they mean the world to our family.



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